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You Thought a Heart Attack Might Make Tommy Tuberville Drop Holds? Think Again.

A top Marine commander was just hospitalized, but Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville still won’t budge on his military holds.

Tommy Tuberville
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Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville

The Marine Corps’s chief officer has been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack, leaving the military branch scrambling to fill gaps in leadership caused by Senator Tommy Tuberville’s block on military promotions. And no, the Republican senator won’t let up.

General Eric Smith collapsed while jogging Sunday and has been hospitalized, The New York Times reported. The Marines announced the following day that Lieutenant General Karsten Heckl would serve as acting commandant while Smith is out of commission.

The Marines then corrected their own announcement, saying that Heckl would only be “performing the duties” of commandant.

Part of the reason for the confusion is that Tuberville’s blockade on military promotions has prevented the Marines—and all branches of the military—from filling many leadership positions. Smith is one of just three generals who has been confirmed to a new position since February. He has been working as both commandant and his own assistant commandant since mid-September because the Senate has been unable to confirm an official deputy for him. There is no indication that his workload contributed to his heart attack, but working two jobs likely didn’t help.

Heckl has also been working multiple jobs due to Tuberville’s blockade. This is likely why he is only performing the commandant’s duties instead of completely taking over the role until Smith returns: He already has several balls he needs to keep in the air.

Tuberville has blocked more than 300 promotions since March in protest over the Defense Department’s policy of reimbursing travel costs for service members who have to go out of state for an abortion. The department has repeatedly warned that the blockade, which at one point left three branches of the military without official leaders, harms U.S. national security.

Smith’s health crisis is the clearest sign yet of how much damage Tuberville is causing. The Marines are technically without an official leader for the foreseeable future. This will make it that much more complicated for the military branch to do anything.

If there was any hope that Smith’s heart attack would force Tuberville to admit he is wrong, there is no such luck. Tuberville told reporters Tuesday that he is considering calling for a floor vote on Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney’s nomination for Marine Corps assistant commandant.

But he still refuses to budge on any of the other hundreds of nominations that he is holding up. “If they move the policy back, then we’ll drop ’em all,” he said, referring to the abortion policy.

The Pentagon, however, says the policy isn’t going anywhere. “That just would be an egregious violation of the covenant that we make, the military makes, with the people that sign up and volunteer,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said earlier this month when asked why the department doesn’t drop the policy.

“When they volunteer for that duty, they have every right to expect that they’re going to get the health care they need.”

He Went There: Top U.N. Official Resigns, Citing “Genocide” in Gaza

A top human rights official has stepped down, accusing the United Nations of failing in its duty.

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A director of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights has resigned, issuing a lengthy letter condemning the organization, the U.S., and Western media companies for their positions on the war between Israel and Hamas, which he described as a “text-book case of genocide.”

“Once again, we are seeing a genocide unfolding before our eyes, and the Organization that we serve appears powerless to stop it,” wrote Craig Mokhiber, the group’s New York office director, who had worked with the U.N. for more than three decades.

“The current wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist colonial settler ideology, in continuation of decades of their systematic persecution and purging, based entirely upon their status as Arabs, and coupled with explicit statements of intent by leaders in the Israeli government and military, leaves no room for doubt.”

In the four-page letter announcing his departure, Mokhiber also called for the U.N. to adopt a 10-point plan focusing on things like: the abandonment of the two-state solution; acknowledgment of Israel’s effort to colonize and dispossess “an indigenous population on the basis of their ethnicity”; fighting apartheid; the return and compensation of displaced Palestinians; a full-scale U.N. investigation; the issuance of a “protection force” for Palestinians; the disarmament of Israel, including its nuclear capabilities; and an end to the “flow of Israel lobbyists to the offices of UN leaders.”

In place of the two-state solution, Mokhiber called for the support of a single, secular democratic state for all the people of historic Palestine.

“What’s more, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, are wholly complicit in the horrific assault,” Mokhiber wrote, lambasting the countries for “refusing” to meet their treaty obligations with respect to the Geneva Conventions, and instead “arming the assault” while providing economic and intelligence support to Israel and providing it cover for its atrocities against thousands of innocent civilians and refugees.

CNN Host Left Stunned as IDF Confirms Israel Hit Refugee Camp With Airstrike

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer seemed at a loss for words at the justification being used to bomb a refugee camp in Gaza.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Turner

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer was left stunned on Tuesday as an Israel Defence Forces spokesman confirmed that Israel was responsible for the bombing of a refugee camp in Gaza.

Blitzer was doing an interview with IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht on the bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp earlier in the day. The IDF said the airstrike on the refugee camp killed Hamas’s central Jabalya battalion, Ibrahim Biari, as well as a few other Hamas militants. The director of a nearby hospital estimated that at least 50 people were killed.

Blitzer pressed Hecht on the logic involved in Israel’s decision to target the refugee camp.

“But even if that Hamas commander was there amidst all those Palestinian refugees who are in that Jabalya refugee camp, Israel still went ahead and dropped a bomb there attempting to kill this Hamas commander knowing that a lot of innocent civilians—men, women, and children—presumably would be killed?” Blitzer asked. “Is that what I’m hearing?”

“That’s not what you’re hearing,” Hect replied. “This is a very complicated battlespace. There could be infrastructure there, there could be tunnels there. We’re still looking into it.”

“But you know that there are a lot of refugees, a lot of innocent civilians—men, women, and children—in that refugee camp as well, right?” Blitzer asked again.

“This is the tragedy of war, Wolf. We as you know, we’ve been saying for days, move south. Civilians who are not involved with Hamas, please move south.”

“Yeah I’m just trying to get a bit more information. You knew there were civilians there, you knew there were refugees, all sorts of refugees, but you decided to still drop a bomb on that refugee camp attempting to kill this Hamas commander.”

“Belongs in Jail”: Billionaire Republican Donor Warns Against Trump

Leon Cooperman issued a clear public rebuke of the Republican Party’s front-runner.

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A hedge fund billionaire and GOP megadonor has a message for voters: Stay clear of Trump.

Leon Cooperman, chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, blasted the former president in a call with CNN last week, insisting that Trump cannot return to the Oval Office.

“It would be terrible for the country if Donald Trump were reelected,” Cooperman told CNN in a phone interview late last week. “He’s a divisive human being who belongs in jail.”

Trump is currently staring down 91 felony charges across four criminal cases, including 44 federal charges and 47 state charges. Trump has denied wrongdoing in all of them.

It’s not the first time that Cooperman has gone on the attack with Trump. Last year, the CEO told the PBD Podcast that he would rather take a chance with progressives than put a “would-be dictator into a second term where he has no allegiance to anybody but himself.”

Cooperman admitted he “reluctantly” voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, but he has a long history of supporting the political ambitions of right-wing candidates, including the late Senator John McCain, Senator Marco Rubio, former President George W. Bush, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, according to OpenSecrets.

Cooperman also said that both Biden and Trump are “bad choices,” making a long-shot prediction that neither of them will be their party’s nominee this time next year. If they reach the ballot, however, he told CNN he won’t vote.

Instead, the executive is hunting for a more centrist option. According to Federal Election Commission records, in August Cooperman donated $1,000 to the 2024 presidential campaign of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who himself has come out in full force against Trump’s candidacy.

Biden’s Israel Stance Could Cost Him Key Swing States in 2024

A new poll finds that Arab American support has plummeted drastically due to Biden’s position on Israel. That could cost him.

People gather in downtown Detroit to call for a cease-fire and voice their support for Palestine on October 28.

President Joe Biden’s stance on Israel has caused his support levels among Arab Americans to plummet, a result that could cost him a key swing state (or several) in the 2024 presidential election.

Since fighting broke out between Israel and Palestine, Biden has pledged total support to Tel Aviv. He only recently changed his stance to call for a humanitarian pause—instead of a complete cease-fire—so that aid can enter Gaza and foreigners can evacuate.

His position could cost him dearly. A poll conducted by the Arab American Institute following the outbreak of violence in Palestine and Israel found that support for Biden among Arab Americans has more than halved since 2020.

Just 17 percent of Arab American voters support the president, down from 59 percent during the previous election cycle—a 42 percent drop. Two-thirds of Arab Americans disagree with Biden’s response to the violence in Israel and Palestine.

“This is the most dramatic shift over the shortest period of time that I’ve ever seen,” James Zogby, the founder and president of the Arab American Institute, told Time.

This shift could cost not just Biden but the entire Democratic Party the election in 2024. The largest Arab American community lives in Dearborn, Michigan, a crucial battleground state. There are smaller populations in Pennsylvania and Georgia, both of which are still larger than Biden’s 2020 margin of victory in those states.

More than half of Arab Americans voted for Biden in 2020, but now, community leaders are turning on him. “Just changing his tone—that’s not enough,” Sami Khaldi, the president of the Dearborn Democratic Club and a former 2020 Biden delegate, said to Time about Biden’s new call for a humanitarian pause.

“Every president comes here and says the best solution for the Middle East crisis is to have a two-state solution, but you don’t see anyone have the courage to do it. We need him to do that.”

Even Piers Morgan Thinks Ramaswamy’s Russia Proposal Is Nuts

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy sat down with Piers Morgan and tried to explain his stance on Russia. It did not go well.

Vivek Ramaswamy
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Vivek Ramaswamy’s recent take on Ukraine was enough to boggle Piers Morgan’s mind.

In an interview released Monday, the GOP presidential candidate claimed that if elected, he would give Russian President Vladimir Putin “a deal” that would effectively hand over the annexed sections of Ukraine.

“Here’s the deal: He has to exit his military alliance with Xi Jinping. End the Russia-China military alliance,” Ramaswamy said. “In return, what they get is a hard commitment that NATO will not admit Ukraine to NATO.”

“And then, here, we’d freeze the current lines of control,” Ramaswamy quickly threw in.

That idea shocked even the controversial news host, whose eyes shot wide open.

“You would give Putin everything he’s stolen?” asked Morgan.

“I’m not going to give him anything, I’m giving him a deal,” Ramaswamy retorted, vaguely justifying the notion by noting that those regions are predominantly Russian-speaking while acknowledging that Putin is an “evil dictator.”

Recent polling shows that Ramaswamy’s hypnotic hold over some GOP voters is beginning to fade. A Des Moines Register poll published Monday found that the share of Iowa voters who view him unfavorably shot up from 20 percent to 37 percent.

“Anecdotally, several voters I’ve talked to in New Hampshire say that they were considering Ramaswamy early on but the more they hear from him the less they like him,” tweeted The Washington Post reporter Meryl Kornfield.

Senate Democrats Are Finally Coming For GOP Billionaire Harlan Crow

Billionaire and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow may soon have to answer about his close ties to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Harlan Crow
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Senate Democrats have finally taken the first steps to address the ethics crisis rocking the Supreme Court.

The Senate Judiciary Committee announced Monday that it will seek to subpoena Republican billionaire megadonor Harlan Crow and ultraconservative activist Leonard Leo. Both men feature prominently in the ethics scandal for their relationships with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. The committee will also seek to subpoena wealthy GOP donor Robin Arkley II.

“The Supreme Court is in an ethical crisis of its own making,” the committee said in a statement. “In order to adequately address this crisis, it is imperative that we understand the full extent of how people with interests before the Court are able to use undisclosed gifts to gain private access to the justices.”

All three men have so far either refused to cooperate with the committee’s investigation or offered to share an insufficient amount of information. The committee could authorize the subpoenas after a vote as soon as next week.

Crow, a Republican billionaire megadonor and Nazi memorabilia collector, has repeatedly lavished Thomas with expensive gifts. These include island-hopping yacht vacations, private school tuition for Thomas’s nephew, and buying and renovating a Thomas family property, where Thomas’s mother still lives.

Thomas has also been Crow’s guest at Bohemian Grove, which ProPublica describes as a “secretive all-men’s retreat in Northern California” that attracts major corporate and political players. It costs thousands of dollars for a member to bring a guest to the Grove, but Crow has reportedly brought Thomas there almost every year for the past two decades.

Thomas’s visits to the Grove helped him develop a relationship with the Koch brothers. Thomas has participated in events for the Koch donor network for at least a decade. All of his appearances were arranged with the help of dark-money king Leo.

In addition to securing Thomas’s goodwill, Leo also helped organize a luxury vacation that Alito went on. Neither Thomas nor Alito have disclosed any of these lavish gifts on their financial statements.

The Supreme Court does not have a formal code of ethics. Since the Thomas and Alito scandals broke, many people have called on the court to establish an ethics code to help prevent such situations in the future. Six of the justices have resisted such a move, with Alito being one of the most vocal. But Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barrett, and Brett Kavanaugh have all backed implementing such a code.

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill in midsummer that would require the justices to adopt a code of ethics, create new financial disclosure rules, and establish a process for submitting and investigating ethics complaints against the justices. But the bill has not yet gone up for debate, and it will have a hard time passing the chamber, where Democrats have only a razor-thin majority.

You’ll Love What Chris Christie Had to Say This Morning about Mark Meadows

Chris Christie is sounding the alarms about Donald Trump’s final undoing.

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Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has a message for Republican voters holding out for Donald Trump: It’s time to stop.

Christie’s warning comes days after news that Mark Meadows, Trump’s last chief of staff and so-called “special friend,” flipped against his former boss, dishing dirty details on election fraud claims in exchange for immunity. It’ll be Meadows’s testimony, according to Christie, that seals Trump’s fate.

“This is deadly. It’s done. He’s going to be convicted. It’s over,” Christie told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on Tuesday, describing Meadows as someone “velcroed to Trump’s hip” through the entire 2020 campaign and beyond.

In several alleged meetings with special counsel Jack Smith’s team this year, Meadows told federal investigators that Trump knew he was lying when he claimed he won, mere hours after the polls closed on election night. To this day, Meadows said he has yet to see any evidence of election fraud.

“I think everybody watching needs to understand from somebody who did this work for seven years, you don’t give Mark Meadows immunity unless the evidence he has is unimpeachable,” Christie noted.

And Christie believes Trump knows it too. The 2024 GOP presidential candidate pointed to a flurry of Trump’s recent gaffes and verbal slipups on the campaign trail as evidence of heightened stress following the news of Meadows’s deal.

“I want all Republican voters to understand this, what’s going to be happening in March,” Christie said. “He’s going to be sitting in a courtroom in Washington, D.C., with Mark Meadows 20 feet away from him, saying, he committed crimes in front of me, on my watch.”

Ex-Trump Lawyer: This Is the Factor that Will Finally Put Trump Behind Bars

Former White House attorney Ty Cobb predicted what will put Donald Trump in jail.

Donald Trump
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A onetime Trump attorney thinks the former president’s social media addiction might be the end for him in his legal trials.

Throughout October, Trump has been slapped with multiple gag orders for threatening and insulting court staff and witnesses in his various legal cases—though that hasn’t been enough to stop him.

So far, Trump has been fined twice for violating the gag order in his $250 million New York bank fraud trial, but he also faces the real possibility of being jailed if he continues his antics, warned Judge Arthur Engoron.

Meanwhile, in his federal election subversion trial in Washington, D.C., Trump slammed Judge Tanya Chutkan and a potential witness, former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, just hours after his gag order was reinstated on Monday. In posts to Truth Social, Trump described Barr as “​​dumb, weak, slow-moving, lethargic, gutless, and lazy.”

That kind of behavior will probably be enough to lock him up, according to Ty Cobb, a former Trump attorney and current partner at the law firm Hogan Lovells.

In an interview with CNN, Cobb argued that the violations in the New York trial, which are a civil matter, aren’t as “consequential” as the criminal conspiracy charges he faces in D.C.

“I think she’ll come in with a much heavier penalty and, ultimately, he’ll spend a night or a weekend in jail,” Cobb said.

“I think it’ll take that to stop it,” he added.

Ty Cobb was a part of the Trump administration legal team from July 2017 until May 2018 and managed matters related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Cobb later described Mueller as an “American hero.”

Cobb has since commented several times on Trump’s ongoing legal woes—in August, the attorney told CNN that the evidence against the former president is “so overwhelming” in the classified documents case, describing it as “tight.” In September, Cobb likened Trump to a “mob boss.”

Ron DeSantis Can’t “Shoe” Away Latest Humiliating Revelation

The Florida governor was asked about whether his shoes have hidden heels. He didn’t handle it well.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Ron DeSantis was knocked back on his heels by a new allegation, and his attempts to sidestep the matter failed miserably.

The Republican presidential hopeful has for weeks sparked theories that he’s wearing lifts inside his cowboy boots to make himself appear taller. Internet users and shoe experts alike point to the bizarre fit of DeSantis’s boots and his apparent struggle to walk in them. The Florida governor’s campaign team has vehemently denied the accusations.

But DeSantis was caught flat-footed Monday during an appearance on the PBD Podcast. Host Patrick Bet-David brought up the internet’s theory and showed DeSantis some videos that internet jokesters had edited to show how they thought DeSantis was essentially standing on tiptoes in his boots.

“What are they—I don’t even—I haven’t seen that,” DeSantis said, a little too fast.

Bet-David then produced a pair of flat designer shoes, which he said he had bought for DeSantis so the governor could try them on and prove how tall he is.

“I don’t accept gifts. I can’t accept it,” DeSantis said in an awkward monotone.

If DeSantis and the 1999 Yale baseball roster are to be believed, DeSantis is 5-foot-11. It’s also understandable why he would want to appear tall at all costs. Taller candidates generally (although not always) perform better, but more importantly, DeSantis is facing off against Donald Trump. Trump loves to describe people as “little” as a form of, well, belittlement.

Unfortunately, this could be a massive missed opportunity for DeSantis. If he is shorter, he could embrace his short king status, call Trump out for body-shaming, and seek to prove that good things come in small packages. If the shoe fits, wear it, right?

Instead, whatever he’s doing is just creating an incredibly strange, clown-like effect. As menswear expert Derek Guy wrote in Politico, whether or not he has lifts in his boots, DeSantis is still wearing really terribly fitting boots. Guy spoke with three bootmaking-industry veterans, and all  agreed that DeSantis’s boots are far too wide around his calves. The heels are low and the toes turn up abnormally high. The boots bulge and crease in weird places.

All of these things could be signs that DeSantis simply needs to get his feet re-measured—or that he shoved some lifts into his boots.